Updated: May 30, 2020
I have a curious story to tell you.
I will get to the point pretty quickly. It was back when I used to be on a solo working holiday visa in Australia. One evening after I finished working I went to a bar: it was playing salsa music and I started dancing with an incredible "salsero" guy. He is from Italy (same country as mine) and we had two passions in common: dancing salsa and travelling. Super excited he told me he was going to Fiji Islands the week coming and waggishly he asked me if I would hit the road to Fiji with him. I don't know why, but I had a feeling and without thinking twice, I said that I would have go! He started laughing saying I was crazy... To be fair I couldn't believe it too that I was taking an impromptu trip to a tropical island just a few hours into chatting! Insane, isn't it? But I tell you that between Davide and I that day was born a truly unique friendship and the journey was cracking! This trip left an imprint on my mind and made me realize how beautiful is to just listen to your impulse and take the plunge. That's how it started my journey to Fiji.
Trust your intuition, it knows better!
I bought a flight ticket from Cairns to Nadi, not a long flight and we stayed there for the day and the night. The morning after we woke up early and we went to catch a ferry to start exploring the tiny precious Fijian's islands!
We visited three of the Yasawa Group islands: Kuata, Mantaray, and we had an amazing unforgettable home stay experience at Navotua Island.
‘Things to-do list’
Drink the traditional kava
Kava is a drink made by a plant root, water and coconut. People native to the South Pacific islands use this kava drink during cultural and religious ceremonies. I suggest you to try kava on your Fiji vacation, not for the flavour itself but because having a sip of kava is a ritual in every village you will enter. In my opinion the taste of kava is not really pleasant (sorry Fijians): it has a kind of bitter "earthy taste" but don't worry, you only have a few sips as it has sedative effects, calming nervous anxiety and stress. Yep, exactly sedative! That is probably why in Fiji everyone is always so happy and relaxed. :P
Visit Mantaray Island
Mantaray is a marvellous, tiny island surrounded by a vibrant coral reefs and tropical beaches. We could snorkel at only few metres away from the shore. We stayed in Mantaray island for three days. On the island you can choose between lots of guided activities, our adventuring spirit made us exploring around without any guide but only us and few fellows we met on the island. It was completely safe and such a beautiful walk around, discovering lovely viewpoints. The rest of the time in Mantaray island was all about snorkelling, laying down on the shore and swimming in the crystalline, limpid ocean. All about cleaning our minds and souls.
Homestay at Navotua Village
At the homestay we arrived by a small speedy boat, we were 6 tourists in total. They welcomed us with some coffee and cakes and we met the village headman and some other locals that told us a bit about their village: rules, culture etc...
We left our backpacks to the traditional bungalow (bure) boasted in a stunning sea view and we went to walk around the village. Kids were coming to meet us like we were from another planet, they were so curious and so wonder with such smiley eyes. They took us around showing the church, school and area where they usually play. Everyone in the village was so kind and welcoming, inviting us in their home to eat all together. It was incredible to meet with some of the world's poorest people and see how happy they are with a single existence, it really does changed how I feel about material possessions.
The homestay was "my Fijian time".
The Homestay at Navotua Village means respect, gratitude and fate: it's where all the kids have happy eyes, sweet and shy smile. Where everyone is taking care of each other as a big family, sharing a small island as their whole world.
I suggest you a homestay in Fiji if you're looking for something different, outside your comfort zone and If you have an adventurous spirit. Fijian are welcoming and loving people. The experience will change you forever.
I will keep this experience in my heart forever.
I recommend to land in Nadi, from there you can take a ferry to go to the tiny surrounding islands. There is one ferry going around the Yasawa Islands: it is starting early in the morning and goes back to Nadi in the evening.
What you need to know
Fijian people are very conservative: when entering a village women should cover their shoulders and avoid short skirts or shorts (I didn't know it and trust me it didn't feel confortable to arrive in a village with a small top) men should wear shirts and longer length shorts.
Bula is the most common word you’ll hear in Fiji and it is used to greet people or say hello. Vinaka vakalevu is the second most common word. It means thank you very much.
Drop me a message if you have any question about Fiji. I will be happy to help!